Crenshaw Named Fletcher Fellow
Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw Named A 2008 Fletcher Fellow
Prestigious award for civil rights work
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July 30, 2008 (NEW YORK) – Columbia Law School professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw has been named a 2008 Fletcher Fellow, joining an august group of scholars, writers and artists selected for their work which furthers the goals of Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court’s landmark decision that desegregated U.S. schools.
Crenshaw’s project “Shattering the Colorblind Ruse: Recapturing the Legacy of Brown” was cited in awarding her a Fellowship; it is a response to the Supreme Court’s Seattle decision of June, 2007 which said that schools cannot use race to make when assigning students to schools. The project addresses the ways in which today's notion of colorblindness undermines the ability to address ongoing patterns of racial inequality.
“From their past experiences, I believe that each of this year’s Fellows is uniquely positioned to be a powerful agent of change for new generations,” Alphonse Fletcher Jr. wrote in his announcement of this year’s Fellows. “In our commitment to preserving the mission of Brown v. Board, we seek out innovative scholars whose ambitions are not merely bookish but are designed to have broad effects on timely issues.”
In 2004, in commemoration of Brown’s 50th anniversary, the Fletcher Foundation announced the creation of the Fellowship program funded by New York financier and philanthropist Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. Crenshaw is among four academics in the country to receive the honor this year.
Crenshaw writes in the areas of black feminist legal theory, race, racism and the law and civil rights. She has lectured nationally and internationally on race matters, addressing audiences throughout Europe, Africa, and South America and facilitated workshops for civil rights activists in Brazil and constitutional court judges in South Africa.
Crenshaw’s work has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the National Black Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, and the Southern California Law Review. She is a founding coordinator of the Critical Race Theory workshop and a coeditor of Critical Race Theory: Key Documents That Shaped the Movement. She received the Lucy Terry Prince Unsung Heroine Award, presented by the Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights Under Law, for her path-breaking work on black women and the law.
The first Fletcher Fellows, named in 2005 included Arthur Mitchell, the founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Stanley Crouch, the culture critic and author. Subsequent fellows included Anita Hill, civil rights lawyer and professor; actress Anna Deveare Smith; and New York Times journalist Brent Staples.
Fletcher grew up in Waterford, Conn. the oldest of three sons of the late Alphonse Fletcher Sr., a technician with General Dynamics in Connecticut, and his wife Bettye, a longtime elementary school principal, who after working for three decades as an educator earned her doctorate from Teachers College at Columbia University. Fletcher is a graduate of Harvard University and founded Fletcher Asset Management in 1993.
The other 2008 Fletcher Fellows are Clayborne Carson, history professor at Stanford University and founding director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute; Kellie Jones, associate professor of art history and archaeology at Columbia University; and Stacy L. Leeds, a University of Kansas law professor and director of its Tribal Law and Government Center.
“The Fletcher Fellowship Program continues to fund varied and complex work on both the history and present-day state of race relations in this country. Whether writing about the law, arts and culture, education, or citizenship itself, this year's Fellows will help us to see how far we have come and how far we still have to go in our efforts to meet the challenge of Brown v. Board,” said professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., chair of the Fellowship Selection Committee. “The program remains the only one of its kind, and this year's class of Fellows will carry out the vision Mr. Fletcher laid out four years ago when he established a Fellowship Program that would both honor and investigate the legacy of Brown v. Board.”
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, and criminal law.